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Latest News and Research

Glass fibers and light offer new control over atomic fluorescence

Electrons inside an atom whip around the nucleus like satellites around the Earth, occupying orbits determined by quantum physics. Light can boost an electron to a different, more energetic orbit, but that high doesn’t last forever. At some point the excited electron will relax back to its original orbit, causing the atom to spontaneously emit light that scientists call fluorescence.   Scientists can play tricks with an atom’s surroundings to tweak the relaxation time for high-flying electrons, which then dictates the rate of fluorescence. In a new study, researchers at the Joint Quantum Institute observed that a tiny thread of glass, called an... Continue Reading

Cold atoms offer a glimpse of flat physics

These days, movies and video games render increasingly realistic 3-D images on 2-D screens, giving viewers the illusion of gazing into another world. For many physicists, though, keeping things flat is far more interesting.One reason is that flat landscapes can unlock new movement patterns in the quantum world of atoms and electrons. For instance, shedding the third dimension enables an entirely new class of particles to emerge—particles that that don’t fit neatly into the two classes, bosons and fermions, provided by nature. These new particles, known as anyons, change in novel ways when they swap places, a feat that could... Continue Reading

Researchers see signs of interactive form of quantum matter

News from NIST Researchers at JILA have, for the first time, isolated groups of a few atoms and precisely measured their multi-particle interactions within an atomic clock. They compared the results with theoretical predictions by NIST colleagues Ana Maria Rey and Paul Julienne and concluded that multi-particle interactions occurred."This experiment demonstrates a remarkable ability to both measure and calculate the quantum properties of just a handful of atoms held in single optical lattice cells,” says Julienne, who is also a JQI Fellow. "This type of setup is a superb platform for precision measurement and for controlling many-particle quantum dynamics and entanglement, with applications to few-body... Continue Reading

Fast-flowing electrons may mimic astrophysical dynamos

A powerful engine roils deep beneath our feet, converting energy in the Earth’s core into magnetic fields that shield us from the solar wind. Similar engines drive the magnetic activity of the sun, other stars and even other planets—all of which create magnetic fields that reinforce themselves and feed back into the engines to keep them running.Much about these engines, which scientists refer to as dynamos, remains unknown. That’s partly because the math behind them is doubly difficult, combining the complex equations of fluid motion with the equations that govern how electric and magnetic fields bend, twist, interact and propagate.... Continue Reading

Black holes: The ultimate cosmic whisks
Chaos. Time travel. Quantum entanglement. Each may play a role in figuring out whether black holes are the universe’s ultimate information scramblers. In this episode of Relatively Certain, Chris sits down with Brian Swingle, a QuICS Fellow and assistant professor of physics at UMD, to learn about some of the latest theoretical research on black holes—and how experiments to test some of these theories are getting tantalizingly close. Continue Reading
Modified superconductor synapse reveals exotic electron behavior
Scientists see signs of quantum states with boosted immunity.

Electrons tend to avoid one another as they go about their business carrying current. But certain devices, cooled to near zero temperature, can coax these loner particles out of their shells. In extreme cases, electrons will interact in unusual ways, causing strange quantum entities to emerge. At the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), Jimmy Williams’ group is working to develop new circuitry that could host such exotic states. These states have a feature that may make them useful in future quantum computers: They appear to be inherently protected from the destructive but unavoidable imperfections found in fabricated circuits. As described recently in Physical... Continue Reading

JQI scientists Monroe and Gorshkov are part of a new, $15 million NSF quantum computing project

NSF has announced a $15 million award to a collaboration of seven institutions, including the University of Maryland. The goal: Build the world’s first practical quantum computer."Quantum computers will change everything about the technology we use and how we use it, and we are still taking the initial steps toward realizing this goal," said NSF Director France Córdova. "Developing the first practical quantum computer would be a major milestone. By bringing together experts who have outlined a path to a practical quantum computer and supporting its development, NSF is working to take the quantum revolution from theory to reality."Dubbed the... Continue Reading

Complexity test offers new perspective on small quantum computers

State-of-the-art quantum devices are not yet large enough to be called full-scale computers. The biggest comprise just a few dozen qubits—a meager count compared to the billions of bits in an ordinary computer’s memory. But steady progress means that these machines now routinely string together 10 or 20 qubits and may soon hold sway over 100 or more.In the meantime, researchers are busy dreaming up uses for small quantum computers and mapping out the landscape of problems they’ll be suited to solving. A paper by researchers from the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) and the Joint Center for Quantum Information and... Continue Reading

Latest News and Research

  • Glass fibers and light offer new control over atomic fluorescence

    Electrons inside an atom whip around the nucleus like satellites around the Earth, occupying orbits determined by quantum physics. Light can boost an electron to a different, more energetic orbit, but that high doesn’t last forever. At some point the excited electron will relax back to its original orbit, causing the atom to spontaneously emit light that scientists call fluorescence.   ... Continue Reading

  • Cold atoms offer a glimpse of flat physics

    These days, movies and video games render increasingly realistic 3-D images on 2-D screens, giving viewers the illusion of gazing into another world. For many physicists, though, keeping things flat is far more interesting.One reason is that flat landscapes can unlock new movement patterns in the quantum world of atoms and electrons. For instance, shedding the third dimension enables an... Continue Reading

  • Researchers see signs of interactive form of quantum matter

    News from NIST Researchers at JILA have, for the first time, isolated groups of a few atoms and precisely measured their multi-particle interactions within an atomic clock. They compared the results with theoretical predictions by NIST colleagues Ana Maria Rey and Paul Julienne and concluded that multi-particle interactions occurred."This experiment demonstrates a remarkable... Continue Reading

  • Fast-flowing electrons may mimic astrophysical dynamos

    A powerful engine roils deep beneath our feet, converting energy in the Earth’s core into magnetic fields that shield us from the solar wind. Similar engines drive the magnetic activity of the sun, other stars and even other planets—all of which create magnetic fields that reinforce themselves and feed back into the engines to keep them running.Much about these engines, which scientists refer... Continue Reading

  • Black holes: The ultimate cosmic whisks
    Chaos. Time travel. Quantum entanglement. Each may play a role in figuring out whether black holes are the universe’s ultimate information scramblers. In this episode of Relatively Certain, Chris sits down with Brian Swingle, a QuICS Fellow and assistant professor of physics at UMD, to learn about some of the latest theoretical research on black holes—and how experiments to test some of these... Continue Reading
  • Modified superconductor synapse reveals exotic electron behavior
    Scientists see signs of quantum states with boosted immunity.

    Electrons tend to avoid one another as they go about their business carrying current. But certain devices, cooled to near zero temperature, can coax these loner particles out of their shells. In extreme cases, electrons will interact in unusual ways, causing strange quantum entities to emerge. At the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), Jimmy Williams’ group is working to develop new circuitry that... Continue Reading

  • JQI scientists Monroe and Gorshkov are part of a new, $15 million NSF quantum computing project

    NSF has announced a $15 million award to a collaboration of seven institutions, including the University of Maryland. The goal: Build the world’s first practical quantum computer."Quantum computers will change everything about the technology we use and how we use it, and we are still taking the initial steps toward realizing this goal," said NSF Director France Córdova. "Developing the first... Continue Reading

  • Complexity test offers new perspective on small quantum computers

    State-of-the-art quantum devices are not yet large enough to be called full-scale computers. The biggest comprise just a few dozen qubits—a meager count compared to the billions of bits in an ordinary computer’s memory. But steady progress means that these machines now routinely string together 10 or 20 qubits and may soon hold sway over 100 or more.In the meantime, researchers are busy... Continue Reading

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